ASUKA:“Because I couldn't figure out
what the questions said.”
UrsusArctos: Did it never occur to anyone to give her special coaching in written Japanese since, as a pilot, she might have to send or receive written orders/instructions/information in that language? It's not like the problem wasn't predictable in the first place. Spoken Japanese is pretty easy compared to learning Kanji, and even someone who speaks Japanese at a native level is likely to have problems in writing the Kanji if they weren't taught it in the first place. IIRC, learning the Kanji goes all the way into high school with some particularly difficult/rare Kanji at the junior college level. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on that.
dzzthink: I have some limited experience in this area but I can confirm that speaking and writing are completely different playing fields in some languages like Japanese/Chinese. You could be "fluent" in terms of speaking/listening with other people but you can be illiterate at the same time due to the complexity of the writing system. Each character for every phrase and object can be unique and will have to be memorized and correctly used.